CNN Chief Jeff Zucker Will Take Medical Leave for Heart Surgery

(Bloomberg) -- Jeff Zucker, the CNN chief and frequent target of barbs from President Donald Trump, is taking a six-week leave of absence to have heart surgery.

Zucker told his staff that he was going to have elective surgery to repair a condition he has had for a decade, according to the cable news channel, which is now owned by AT&T Inc. Brian Stelter, the network’s media reporter, shared the news earlier Thursday on Twitter.

Zucker, 53, had recently renewed his contract with CNN -- a move that will keep him in the role through the 2020 U.S. elections. The executive has weathered outrage from the president, who has suggested that Zucker’s job at CNN was in jeopardy.

The two have a long history. When he was an NBC executive, Zucker oversaw “The Apprentice,” the reality show that helped vault Trump to national fame. But as president, Trump has often taken aim at Zucker and CNN, describing it as “fake news.”

The administration also sought to block AT&T’s acquisition of CNN owner Time Warner Inc. A judge allowed the deal to proceed last month, but the Justice Department is appealing the decision.

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